10 survival tips for supply teaching in further education

All education sectors have been affected by the pandemic and there is lots of opportunity for a variety of teaching and technical support posts in the further education sector. As a further education supply teacher you will have a varied age range of students who will have mixed abilities and therefore there will be different aspects of teaching to other sectors. At the same time, somethings in teaching never change no matter who it is you are teaching but it may be that you have to slightly adapt to the age group you are teaching. Here are some tips for further education supply teaching.

First impressions matter
Getting off to a good start is important because first impressions matter. Students arriving at a class for the first time may be nervous and need to be put at ease. You also want to present your subject in the most interesting means possible to grab their attention, engage them and motivate them; you also need to generate a sense of confidence to demonstrate that you are the expert.
Challenging individuals?
No matter what age group you are teaching, individuals presenting with challenging behaviour is a common feature of any group and the classroom is no exception. Re-iterating boundaries and guidance in a gentle but firm manner generally to the class can be helpful as well as trying to specifically engage and motivate the individual who is presenting as challenging. Ultimately you always have the option having trying to talk to them individually with an emphasis on ways to help them.
Demonstrate your enthusiasm
If you do not present your subject with enthusiasm, students can quickly feel bored and uninspired. Always teach a subject that you feel passionate about, you will be a happier teacher and therefore students are more likely not only to learn but want to learn from you.
Digital capability?
Varied ability in technology: Variations in age groups means differences in digital capability. It is worth checking with students how adept they are with online platforms and using digital resources as this will help you prepare your learning plans accordingly.
Being organised
No matter what age group your class, the demands of teaching are many, so being organised is essential for good quality teaching and for your own resilience levels.
Time management
Plan your time carefully and be smart about lesson planning as these are the most time-consuming elements of teaching that can spill over into your home life. Be careful what you commit to; this may been saying ‘no’ to requests. Manage the ‘hotspots’ of when you know you are going to be busier and prepare in advance.
Smart marking
Marking can be a very time consuming task than can eat up into your time at home. Digital platforms and online learning and quizzes can be a time saving support mechanism to aid marking tasks, but member to check the digital capability of the group you are working with as abilities may vary.
Work life balance
Being mindful of having a good work/life balance is essential for your resilience and longevity as a teacher. Give yourself permission to have boundaries about work and spend time with family as well as having time your own for ‘you time’ whether its engaging in your hobbies or meeting friends.
Connect with others
Now more than ever as many can be isolated due to the pandemic, make sure you stay connected to people, but especially colleagues with similar experiences to your own as there is nothing like peer support to help you with ideas, inspiration and just someone to share your  ‘moans’ with.
Balance feedback to include the positive and the negative
Everyone needs a confidence boost when they are learning something new, no matter what the age group. Although you may immediately identify what a student needs to improve on, it’s important to ‘couch’ feedback with a positive first; it help to keep them engaged, motivated and ‘hear’ the feedback being said or written and take it on board.